Have you ever wondered why horses sleep standing up during the day? Have you ever tried to find out why they lock their legs in place and fall asleep, without falling over? Although there is not a major mystery behind this behavior shown by horses, many people still do not have a clue about it. For those of you who do not know the answers to these questions, this article would be worth reading. Irrespective of whether a horse is a wild one, a pet or one that runs a race, one quality that is same in all the horses is their sleeping posture.
All the horses, be it in any part of the world, have been seen to sleep while standing up - an inherent quality seen in highly active animals. They do not lie down, like other animals, when they are sleeping. Horses do lie down during short naps during the day, to rest their legs. You can also find a horse stretching out on its side, when it is asleep in the sun. However, when it falls asleep during the night, you will always find it standing.
Horses boast of having a unique system of interlocking ligaments and bones in their legs. This serves as a sling to suspend their body weight, without straining, while keeping their muscles completely relaxed. Consequently, horses do not have to extent any energy consciously to remain standing, their legs being locked in the proper position during sleep. Coming back to the topic as to why do horses sleep while standing up; there are a number of reasons for the same. Read on to explore the reasons why horses stand while sleeping.
Reasons Why Horses Stand While Sleeping
- Horses are prey animals in the woods. When a herd of horses is attacked by a predator, a large amount of the precious escape time would be lost, if the animal has to scramble to get to its feet. As a result, horses stand while sleeping, so that they can run fast, when and if they are attacked.
- The habit of wild horses, to stand while sleeping, is also seen in the animals found in domesticated herds. This is probably an instinct in them, to sleep standing up.
- Horses cannot get up quickly, because they have straight backs. In order to be vigilant about the possible attacks by their "enemies", they remain in the standing position, even while sleeping.
- Horses sleep while standing up because they are more comfortable that way. They are so heavy that lying down for a longer period of time puts significant pressure on their downward side. This, in turn, can lead to tissue damage and tissue death.
Note: Horses require a total of 45 minutes of sleep while lying down, to achieve REM sleep and remain well rested. However, only horses who feel secure about their environmental conditions lay down to rest. Horses who are exposed to unfamiliar or frightening surroundings or those who cannot lay down due to health tissue tend to become sleep deprived.